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Can I Use Watercolors on Ordinary Paper?

Special watercolor paper costs more than standard paper. The good news is that you can use watercolors on any paper and it can be fun exploring what type of paper is best for your techniques. 

All paper absorbs water. Paper that is used for general use (such as less expensive printer paper) will absorb the water and pigment differently. Most non-watercolor paper will absorb and spread the pigment. 

A classic way of demonstrating this effect is to put a drop of paint onto tissue paper. You’ll see that there will be a dark center to the droplet and it fades out as it spreads into a circle. The effect will be similar (but less so) on other paper, such as printer paper.

Don’t Use Watercolor Paper Until Confident

When supplying art materials for kids multiple times a week, you will soon get through an awful lot of paper. This is one reason that standard paper is fine for most classroom work.

As the children's skills develop, introduce them to watercolor paper for special projects.

Types of Watercolor Paper 

Special watercolor paper comes in two types -- hot press (smoother) and cold press (rougher). Watercolor paper comes in a variety of weights. The heaviest weights are the most expensive and best only used for final/important projects.

You will find that the heavy paper is prone to buckling, which is why it needs to be stretched while being used. On the other hand, lighter paper will hold less water and is more prone to tearing.

Color Swell Watercolors

Color Swell offers a range of watercolor paints, including 8 color, 12 color, and 16 color palettes, in a variety of pack sizes. Color Swell watercolors conform to ASTM standards, are non-toxic, and washable.